The new Fantastic Four movie is out, and while it's neither particularly popular nor tied into any other superhero films as far as we know, it does have a few Easter eggs, references and (in some cases) near misses of same.
We probably missed some, too, considering that our Fantastic Four education isn't as broad in scope as it could be. And that certain bits of the film blinded us with rage.
So...what did we see? What did we miss? Read on...
What a world -- Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta as Mr. Kenny) is teaching Reed Richards?!
They must have really liked his performance, too; he's Reed's third-grade teacher, who then recurs as a judge in the science fair, saying almost exactly the same things nearly a decade later.
One of Mr. Kenny's bits of sarcasm is that he asks Reed whether the teleporter is next to his "flying car." Reed dismisses the question, saying that he isn't "working on that anymore." But of course, fans of the comics will know that the Fantasticar is a very real thing.
This one is almost certainly not intentional, but it was interesting to me.
With his working-class attitudes and a cigar often clenched in his teeth, Ben Grimm has always felt somewhat like an autobiographical character for Jack Kirby in my mind. So it's interesting that his family owns a salvage yard here -- I can't find any indication that they did in any previous version of the story -- and that "Kirby Salvage" was a location in Metropolis during the post-Crisis John Byrne era, drawn by Jerry Ordway -- both recognizable to Fantastic Four fans as beloved creators who worked on the FF books.
I personally despise the fact that they attribute Ben Grimm's catchphrase to "a thing his brother used to say when he whaled on them as kids," but it is what it is. "It's clobberin' time' is Ben's recognizable catchphrase, used in basically every movie.
The Baxter Building, where the technology for the teleporter is developed in the film, is actually the home of the Fantastic Four in most comic book (and the previous two movie) stories.
Quad Series Microchip
It's funny that in the trophy cases, one of the inventions Baxter alumni are credited with inventing is a Quad Series microchip. It makes me wonder whether at one point there were abandoned plans to pepper the number four into the movie.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
While it's Reed Richards who loves 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in this movie, it's hard not to see the parallels between the reclusive, destructive and sometimes cruel Captain Nemo and Victor Von Doom's characterization in the Kinberg/Trank version of the story.
While it's established in the comics that Franklin is the name of Sue and Johnny's mother, the guy next to me in the theater still said something akin to "Oh, yeah?" when he introduced himself using the name more closely associated with Reed and Sue Richards' son from the comics.
Latveria isn't a place you can find on a map outside of the Marvel Universe, so those unfamiliar with the comics might have wondered why it's listed as Victor Von Doom's home of national origin in some paperwork.
Well, that's because in the comics, Latveria is a sovereign nation ruled over by Doom.
Victor the Ex
One of the things that often bugs me is when writers play up the potential romantic connection between Sue Storm and Victor Von Doom. It makes her seem too much like a prize to be squabbled over by Victor and Reed, and frankly diminishes Victor as a villain and makes him seem petty.
So of course, it was played way, way up in the Tim Story movie in 2005.
And then, while it wasn't nearly as prevalent here, it certainly existed and was at least tacitly implied to be part of what drove Victor to abandon the project and, after he returned, to hate Reed.
The fire flower
You remember that flower from Super Mario Bros. that allowed you to throw fireballs after you picked it up?
Well, it was in Johnny Storm's car early on in the movie. You can see it hanging from his mirror.
Considering this scene also showed his exhaust blowing a fireball out the back when he took off, it sure seems like whoever wrote the drag race scene was interested in foreshadowing in a big way.
Apparently, where Johnny isn't really up to speed is on his pop culture references. He calls the European-born Victor Von Doom "Borat" at one point when making fun of him.
...Yeah, it took me a minute to remember Borat, too. But that movie was HUGE in 2006.
Please also note: Victor's accent is hardly audible. So calling him "Borat" is a kind of a weird choice when there are plenty of other insults for sulky hackers.
(Not the) Negative Zone
As much as "Planet Zero" is obviously the Negative Zone from the comics, it's officially "planet zero" in the movies.
No idea why, or if this was a last-minute change (since we hardly ever hear it referred to as anything in particular), or why it suddenly became green at the last minute. But the fact that it's pretty obviously the Negative Zone is enough to give me pause for Easter egginess.
DC Comics villain Monarch will be positively jealous of the helmets the Fantastic Four used in their environment suits.
Again, not at all intentional. And it might be just me. But the simiarity occurs to me every time and the way their faceplates look on the other side -- other than being transparent -- does little to change the overall impression.
No cameo from Marvel Comics legend and Fantastic Four co-creator Stan Lee, but of the roughly 100 lab techs in the movie, only one of them actually gets called out by name. About 10 times, by Johnny Storm.
And his name is Stan.
It's my understanding that Central City was the name of Reed Richard's hometown in the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby original Fantastic Four stories. That run -- and especially the first few issues before they formally suited up as superheroes -- was clearly a bit influence on the film, and so it's not surprising that when they're looking for a name for their first post-Baxter Building headquarters, that's where they end up.
Of course, considering that earlier in the movie their boss was "Dr. Allen," maybe we should have looked a little closer for references to The Flash...!
While lots of folks have pegged the "first day at a new headquarters" thing from the end of the movie as an Avengers: Age of Ultron ripoff, there's a far more obvious thing going on in that final scene.
Just as the Mystery Men did, the team goes the whole movie without being named and then, in its final moments, spikes the lens...and leaves you without actually resolving the whole "team name" thing.
It was played for laughs in both, although Mystery Men was far more effective in using it, if you ask me.